Approximately two years ago, Kollin Kosmicki knew the time was right to make a jump into the local political scene. After all, armed with inside knowledge of how things worked locally from his 10-year run as the editor of the Hollister Free Lance—holding officials accountable and learning the functions of local government in the process—Kosmicki has positioned himself as a change agent in the race for the San Benito County Board of Supervisors District 2 seat against Wayne Norton.
“I want to do good things for the community, and we have a solid foundation in San Benito County to become a great community,” said Kosmicki, who is married to Cecilia and has a 12-year-old son, Brandon.
Motivated to break up what he calls “the good old boy system of politics” and provide solutions to what the community cares about, Kosmicki has succinctly detailed his positions on three key issues facing the county.
They include 1) slowing single-family housing growth, 2) fixing roads/expanding highways 25 and 156 and 3) creating jobs to drive the local economy.
Kosmicki has made no secret he’s all in favor of slowing housing growth due to the lack of road/highway infrastructure in the area.
“We just don’t have the infrastructure to keep pace with growth,” he said. “We really have to focus on expanding 156 and 25 as soon as possible. That along with being aggressive with local road upgrades.”
Kosmicki plans on building the local economy through tourism promotion, branding San Benito County as home of Pinnacles National Park. Cities across America have done wonders to drive local tourism simply by putting out a marketing campaign denoting they are the home of a national park (see Moab, Utah). Kosmicki believes a similar campaign would do wonders for San Benito County’s visibility and tourism growth.
Other priorities include working with city officials to improve downtown Hollister, building hotels near attractions, upgrading the county’s broadband infrastructure and ensuring Gavilan College builds a local satellite campus. Should Kosmicki get elected—he won the initial primary handily, garnering 35 percent of the vote—proposing an annual 1 percent cap on single-family, market-rate housing would be his Day One priority. He also plans on putting in policies where developers would have to increase the percentage of affordable housing for every project.
“We have to build our economy in a responsible way that fits in line with the rural character of San Benito County that most people love,” Kosmicki said.
Kosmicki is also committed to doing Town Hall meetings before every county board of supervisors’ meeting so people have a structured way to access officials, share concerns and exchange ideas.
“I want to bring more transparency to local government and set a better example of being open with people and making sure the public knows what we’re doing,” he said.